Nathan Thompson (LMPC), Joel Tippens (Grow Hope Urban Farm), Tory Worley (HFIC), Paul Green (HFIC), and Brian Salter (LMPC)
- photo by Anna Moyle
Representatives of Hope for the Inner City were happily surprised to receive a $22,000 check from Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, as start-up funding for their Grow Hope Urban Farm. This long-term capital investment will allow the farm to launch in February 2018.
Hope for the Inner City had gathered with LMPC members for an evening of pizza and bingo with prizes going toward their Christmas Store. The Christmas Store takes new toy donations and sells them to people in the nearby community at a discounted rate. LMPC members had already donated over 450 items for the store which were collected and transported that evening. But the church had managed to keep the check a complete surprise until the evening's festivities were underway.
The Grow Hope Urban Farm, which began several years ago as a summer youth program, will begin sowing seeds of economic development by providing paid, hands-on work experience to young men from the surrounding neighborhoods in East Chattanooga as job readiness training, one component of a larger employment assistance program of Hope For The Inner City.
Grow Hope will use three acres and a greenhouse on the premises of Hope for the Inner City to grow fruits and vegetables year-round for sale in farmers' markets near their zip code.
The capital investment from LMPC will go toward the greenhouse, a lawn tractor, product handling and storage, and other items needed for the program to fully launch. LMPC also plans to provide volunteers to assist with building a fence, service days, and mentoring.